Legal Departments, Law Firms, and Pro Bono


In January 2012, PBI President and CEO Esther Lardent wrote about pro bono partnerships between law firms and legal departments and the many benefits they can produce.  According to CPBO’s 2012 Benchmarking Survey, pro bono partnerships are on the rise: 86 percent of responding legal departments partnered with law firms on pro bono in 2012, up from 68 percent in 2010.  And nearly a quarter of responding legal departments partner with firms with whom they do not already have a business relationship.

This is not the only trend. CPBO’s 2012 Benchmarking Survey also found that a law firm’s pro bono efforts are increasingly important to legal departments in their selection and evaluation of their business relationship with firms.  More than a third of responding legal departments consider pro bono performance when evaluating outside counsel and 30 percent expressly inquire about pro bono in requests for proposals (RFPs), beauty contests, or retention processes.
partnership3You can read more about partnerships between legal departments and law firms when CPBO publically releases the 2012 Benchmarking Survey later this fall.  Until then, check out The PBEye for regular highlights as well as a variety of other pro bono partnership blogs. You may also review the 2010 Benchmarking Survey to learn more about trends in in-house pro bono.

For information, contact CPBO Director Eve Runyon.